Joucas, the understated village

Joucas, the understated village

Joucas is a small terraced village built on a hill between Roussillon and Gordes in the heart of the Luberon Valley. It’s about 10 miles from our hometown of Apt. I love Joucas because it is quaint and unspoiled—it’s often overlooked by tourists, who prefer visiting Roussillon for its ochres or Gordes for its flamboyant view, picturesque shops, and fancy hotels.

Wandering around Joucas is a real treat. The houses have either been restored tastefully using ancient stone or perfectly preserved, seemingly frozen in time from a hundred years ago. Most of the narrow streets of this hilltop village are paved with beautiful old stones. The view from the town hall square is stunning, overlooking vineyards, the ochres of Roussillon, and the whole range of the Luberon mountains. On that same square, you can push open the door to the church of St Jean Baptiste that was rebuilt in 1766. The inside is beautifully decorated with marble and Italian paintings. On your walk around the village, you’ll discover several wood and stone sculptures from local artists Mieke Heybroek and Ulysse Plaud. And if you want to venture a bit further, there are several beautiful walking trails that start on the outskirts of the village.

Just outside the village, there’s a beautiful 5* hotel restaurant called Les Mas de Herbes Blanches (Relais & Chateaux). It’s certainly luxurious, but yet it still feels authentic with the beautiful traditional Provençal building made of local dry stone. We’ve never stayed, but we have enjoyed a few indulgent lunches, dinners and drinks there! The terrace overlooking the hotel swimming pool faces south-west and offers one of the best sunset views of the Luberon. You can even borrow the hotel petanque set to play on their dedicated pitch.

If the 5* lifestyle isn’t your thing and you’d rather experience the more rustic side of the village, we would recommend visiting Joucas for their annual “Vide-Greniers” car boot sale, which usually takes place on a Sunday at the beginning of May. The village festival is also great fun and happens in August. As with most village festivals around Provence, you can expect to partake in a meal right in the middle of the village, compete in a petanque contest, and enjoy drinks at the local buvette. Fun for all ages!

We also love the nearby villages of Roussillon and Gordes, which are exceptionally beautiful. But that beauty means that they are so crowded all year round that you don’t really see the real life of a local Provençal village—and we feel that’s a shame.

If you’d like us to recommend places for you to visit in Provence, don’t hesitate to email me. I’d be more than happy to share some (not all!) of our favourite addresses!

A bientôt!

Village house in Joucas
Joucas Village View
sculptures in Joucas
Mairie Joucas
Church in Joucas
Vide Grenier Joucas
Mas des Herbes Blanches Joucas
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